Holding Hard

Waiting in Grief

Saturday is hard for some of us. It’s the day we slow down, the day we sit with things, the end of one thing and the hope of a new one. For Christians, the Saturday of Holy Week, Holy Saturday is especially hard. It’s when we hold the pain of yesterday in one hand and hope for tomorrow in the other. We long for Sunday, tomorrow, the day that tells us resurrection is possible. But, on Saturday we wait in the dark pain of shame and sorrow, grieving yesterday. 

Triple Threat

Personally, this day is particularly difficult for me. The anniversary of my rape is connected to both Good Friday, Friday the 13th, and April 13th. The date was a cosmic calendaring collision that made anniversary’s of the event exceptionally strange because Good Friday is rarely on the 13th and Friday the 13th is rarely on Good Friday. Therefore, remembering this trauma on Good Friday, on Friday the 13th and on April 13th sometimes feels like a triple threat.

Distressing Dichotomy

For years, the trauma of my rape was so enormous that I didn’t know it had also been on a Good Friday. Nevertheless, I did recall it had been Friday 13th. Therefore, most years at this time I’ve felt the tension of remembering from Friday until the 13th. Since discovering it was also Good Friday, this in between time has been rich with tension. It holds both the hard of my faith—the death of Jesus, as well as a personal hard—my rape. I feel a multi-faceted sadness and a prolific hope. It’s a distressing dichotomy. 

“We can do hard things!”


The Challenge

Lately, I’ve heard people saying, “We can do hard things!” When I hear that statement I think to myself, you better believe it. I know I can do hard things. My life has been full of doing hard things. However, holding is a challenge. Doing keeps my mind distracted from holding. It keeps me preoccupied, busy. Sometimes in therapy we say, “Stay busy, stay safe” because staying busy might be the only safety for our minds. 

Comfort & Pain

Regardless, holding can feel uncomfortable or profoundly calming. It can spur anxiety as well as actuate comfort. Holding is rich with meaning. We hold babies. We hold sleeping puppies. And, we hold each other.

Most mothers would admit the sound of a crying baby rouses our maternal urge to comfort. If we cannot provide comfort our entire bodies feel resulting anxiety. To the contrary, when we hold sleeping puppies—or babies—we feel calm and peaceful. And, often when we hold each other we are experiencing heartache. Holding contains both comfort and pain.  

“We bring our insides to the outside.”

Chip Dodd

Feeling the Feels

In recent years, our language has morphed to describe in between spaces as holding patterns or holding space. Holding is a place where we feel our feelings. To hold can feel like both a blessing and a curse. It awakens us to our privilege and to our pain. In order to hold, we must be able to feel the feels. It requires identifying our feelings and feeling them which are distinctly different. It might even mean sharing those feelings, As I’ve heard Chip Dodd say, “We bring our insides to the outside.”

Shining Light

Regardless, there is a holding between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday that shines a light on how we’re doing with feeling our feelings. Either we can hold the shame and sorrow and process it, or we become anxious or disregualted and seek to distract ourselves so we can pretend the pain isn’t there.  

Sunday did come for Jesus and that stirs up hope that it will come for us, too.

Lisa Long

Nevermore Alone

In any case, it’s no easy task to hold the hard. The shame and sorrow of our faith touches our personal shame and sorrow. It makes us remember. It’s hard. The beauty and glory of our faith is that we are nevermore alone in our despair. Sunday did come for Jesus and that stirs up hope that it will come for us, too.

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